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SYFY WIRE John Carpenter

Bryan Fuller teases 'very faithful' Christine adaptation, what sets it apart from John Carpenter

Stephen King's killer car is coming back to theaters soon. 

By Matthew Jackson
Bryan Fuller GETTY

Six months ago, Pushing Daisies and Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller revealed his next genre project: A new adaptation of Stephen King's killer car novel Christine, which he would both write and direct. Right away, the project had potential, as it brought a lifelong horror fan and one of genre storytelling's great modern thinkers to bear on a King novel that was originally brought to the screen by another genre luminary, John Carpenter, nearly 40 years ago. Now, Fuller has offered new details on his version of the project, including where he's at in the process, and how the film will differ from Carpenter's original classic.

Fuller was on the Stephen King-focused podcast The Kingcast this week to talk about another King novel, The Talisman, but hosts Scott Wampler and Eric Vespe couldn't let the moment pass without asking him for a Christine update. Fuller revealed that his latest draft of the screenplay is now in King's hands, awaiting his approval after Fuller worked to condense the material down into the right movie-length format.

"We sent that Christmas present to Stephen King and hopefully we'll be getting feedback in the new year," Fuller said.

He continued, "I feel like it's a very faithful adaptation of the book, and the book was in front of me the entire time I was writing the script, even when there have been minor departures or the Spanx-ing of a nearly 600-page book into a 100-page script. So, that was a lot of fun. Because initially, I wrote a 122-page script, and Blumhouse was like 'Get it in under 100,' and I was like 'I will rise to that challenge.' It was a lot of fun. I think it made it a better script, a tighter script, and now hopefully Stephen King will see how fidelitous it is as an adaptation and sign off, and then we will move forward."

As for how his film will ultimately differ from Carpenter's own adaptation, Fuller praised the original movie, while teasing an adaptation with a bit more depth.

"I love the Carpenter film, but I don't think it's...It owes a lot to the James Brolin movie The Car, in terms's just an evil car, and it does what evil cars do, which is run over people, or taunt them at cemeteries or drive through their house while they're on the phone," Fuller said. "There's so many layers [in the book]. I feel like Carpenter's movie is a cookie, and the Stephen King book is a tiramisu, so it has more layers of cream and chocolate and cakey goodness. The cookie's still delicious, but it's a different kind of dessert experience.

He continued, "I feel like this [version] is much more beholden to the concept of the Overlook on wheels, or the vampiric relationship between the car and Arnie, and certainly Roland LeBay has a lot to do in the story, and he wasn't even a character in the John Carpenter movie. So I think all of those things, for me, were rationale and why we needed a new adaptation of Christine, because so much of the book never made it in previously."

Originally released in 1983, and followed by the film adaptation just months later, King's Christine tells the story of Arnie, who discovers a rundown 1958 Plymouth Fury for sale and buys it from a strange old man. Immediately, he develops a strange, addictive connection to the car that begins to change his personality, even as the newly restored car, dubbed "Christine," starts to exhibit a mind of its own. 

As for the new film adaptation, Fuller didn't give a timeline for when we might see it, but did note that The Kingcast played a major role in making the project happen. When Fuller appeared on an episode last year to discuss King's novel and Carpenter's original adaptation, he offered an in-depth analysis of the text that caught the ear of fellow filmmaker Vincenzo Natali, who called and asked if Fuller might be interested in a new adaptation. Natali is now one of the producers on the upcoming film.